Humans likely got the deadly Chinese coronavirus from SNAKES sold at the Wuhan market, study suggests
Researchers at Peking University believe that 2019-nCoV, the SARS-like coronavirus that’s infected more than 500 people worldwide and killed 17, is made up of a combination of one that affects bats and another, totally unknown coronavirus.
They think genetic material from the two recombined, picked up a protein that lets viruses bind to certain host cells – including those of humans.
When they analyzed the genes of strains affecting various host animals, the team found that snakes were susceptible to the most similar version of the coronavirus, and likely provided a ‘reservoir’ for the viral strain to grow stronger and replicate.
Sold alongside a menagerie the included live koalas, rats and wolf pups at the Huanan Seafood Market in central Wuhan – now thought to be the outbreak’s epicenter – snakes likely then served as the jumping-off point for the virus to begin infecting humans.